Tag Archives: restoration

College Point historical site gets renovation funds, hopes for revival

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

The historic Poppenhusen Institute‘s foundation sits on sand and its façade deteriorates with age. After 30 years of weathering wind from the bay, the College Point cultural center is going to be restored.

The city granted funds to the historical landmark building in order to complete overdue repairs to its exterior and to also build an elevator for the three upper floors, according to city documents. The last time the building’s exterior was working was in 1980s.

Executive Director Susan Brustmann believes the repairs and construction will cost $10 million but the city has only approved $5 million. The two major jobs will begin in early 2015 and will last for at least a year, according to Brustmann.

At a time when the nineteenth century building is in danger of closing down, the city grant is a welcome relief, according to Brustmann.

“We’re facing the most challenging time in our history,” she said. “So we’re very grateful that the city has given us money. The construction will be a great thing once it’s done.”

When the repairs are completed, Brustmann hopes to attract new revenue sources like getting the HBO show “Boardwalk Empire” to come back and film another scene in the building’s party hall.

Poppenhusen was built in 1868 with funds from Conrad Poppenhusen, a German immigrant. Since opening, the building has taken on various roles, from holding the first kindergarten class in America to housing German Singing Societies to being a court room and a sheriff’s office with two jail cells that still stand today.

Brustmann hopes to bring some of that diversity back by not only offering its historic rooms to film crews  but by also hosting a coffee shop on the third floor, overlooking the water.

In 2008 the Institute lost its state funding and now relies on city grants and donations. For now, its plan is to hold on until the construction is finished.

“College Point is off the beaten path but we’re fighting to get people in here and stay relevant,” Brustmann said. “We’re not giving up.”



Restoration project for Glendale library unveiled

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Courtesy of Queens Library

Queens Library announced its plans to restore Glendale’s library to its former glory and make it more  accessible to the handicapped.

The library on 73rd Place was built in 1935 and since then little has been done to alter or improve the building, according to the project’s architect Matthew Baird. The budget for the project is $2.8 million and with this money, Baird plans on installing an elevator and restoring the interior and the attached garden.

The restoration team, which is part of the Department of Design and Construction, expects to start construction in 2017.

“It’s an incredible facility and we’d like to restore it to its grandeur,” Baird said during a Community Board 5 meeting. “It will be a fantastic place to be.”

The restoration project will also open up some windows that had been covered in bricks over the years, preventing light from entering the second floor. The bookshelves are battered and worn, something Baird wants to change by cleaning the shelves as well as much of the building.

When the library first opened, the garden was well-manicured but since then, the vegetation has become overgrown and Baird wants to not only trim the overgrowth but also install chairs so people can read outside.

The installation of a new elevator is an attempt to make the building more accessible to handicapped people. There will also be a new handicapped entrance on the Myrtle Avenue side.

Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley secured the $2.8 million through the City Council’s budget but the funds fall short of satisfying all of the library’s needs.

On the first floor there is a once vibrant mural that is now dull and dirty, but the project does not include funds to restore the artwork.



82nd Street Partnership unveils restoration of historic Jackson Heights building

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of the 82nd Street Partnership

Together with the Jackson Heights Historic District, the 82nd Street Partnership has unveiled a restoration which marks the beginning of bringing a new look to the diverse area.

The 82nd Street Partnership gathered with representatives from the City’s Department of Small Business Services (SBS), Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), community leaders, groups and merchants to unveil the restoration of a historic building at 82-01 Roosevelt Avenue.

The Tuesday unveiling was the beginning of the “Storefront Restoration Program” which will restore building façades and enhance the district’s sense of place by the end of the year.

The 82nd Street Partnership was one of the seven Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) which won SBS’ 2013 “Neighborhood Challenge” initiative with the goal to encourage innovation and creativity in local economic development programming.

Investing in the $50,000 award it received from the “challenge,” the BID set out to support property owners and merchants in Jackson Heights by assisting them with free design assistance and offering a matching construction grant as part of the new restoration program.

By the end of the year the program will have renovated seven ground floor and three upper floor storefronts at three properties on 82nd Street between 37th and Roosevelt Avenue enhancing the “look and feel” of the area by making the businesses more attractive and inviting to a larger group of customers.



The overall restorations will help bring improvements to the area’s quality of life, help preserve retail diversity and improve business conditions, according to the 82nd Street Partnership.

Along with the restorations, the program will also remove 20 LPC violations from three properties.



$7M to restore Jamaica Bay marshes

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo by Dan Mundy, Jr.

A $7 million grant will see more “green” in the Jamaica Bay marshes.

The grant — provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, totaling $7,293,547.50 — will fund the restoration of approximately 50 acres of salt marshes at Yellow Bar Hassock, Senator Charles Schumer and Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder announced recently.

“From Broad Channel to Howard Beach to the Rockaways, all communities along Jamaica Bay have a stake in preserving the bay’s at-risk marsh islands,” Schumer said. “The restoration of Yellow Bar Hassock Island is a critical phase of our battle to preserve the marshes from disappearing and forever altering the bay for the worse. With this funding, we can make sure that Jamaica Bay’s fragile marshes will survive for generations to come.”

Officials said the bay’s fragile ecosystem suffered damage from development and sewer discharges. The restoration will involve the placement of 300,000 cubic yards of the island’s “dredged” material and will, according to Goldfeder, “preserve the threatened natural habitat and beauty of Jamaica Bay.”

Goldfeder said he hopes the completion of the project will not only benefit the bay but also the surrounding community by attracting new economic activity and growth.

“This grant will help restore the delicate ecosystem of Jamaica Bay to its former greatness,” Goldfeder said. “It’s important to not only preserve our natural surroundings, but renew them whenever possible.”

In 2006, three marsh islands in the bay — including Yellow Bar Hassock — were recommended and approved for restoration by city and state agencies. Since then, the bay’s Elders Point East and Elders Point West have been completed.

Officials will begin pumping sand into Yellow Bar Hassock during the first week in February, while planting is scheduled to take place starting March 15. Officials expect completion near July 2012.

Meanwhile, motorists traveling along the Rockaway Inlet of Jamaica Bay can expect multiple daily bridge lifts starting January 26 and continuing through February.

The Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge will see “around-the-clock, full periodic closures,” according to the MTA, due to federal code that requires lift bridges to be raised in order to allow for crossing marine traffic.

MTA officials advise motorists to use the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge as an alternate route.